An open letter to Mayor Anthony Russo:
Let me first apologize for the title of my original article "The killing fields of Hoboken". As with most titles, it was designed to grab the reader's attention and then draw them into reading the article that contains the real message. It appears that you were grabbed by the title but missed the message.
I agree with you that Hoboken is a safe place to live. I have lived here for seven years and am proud to call it my home. However, as a resident who owns a car and drives every day through Hoboken, I know that both automobile drivers and pedestrians are at risk because: 1. There are some intersections in Hoboken that lack a stop sign in either direction, and 2. Illegally parked cars frequently obstruct the view of drivers. But I choose not to point a finger and simply suggested the following pro-active steps that would make the streets safer for both automobile drivers and pedestrians:
Enforce the law by ticketing and towing cars (i.e., it is illegal to park within 25 feet of a street corner in Hoboken); educate residents through the newspaper and direct mailers that the law will be enforced; paint yellow curbs at each corner semi-annually to reinforce the message of non-parking areas and ensure that every intersection has either a traffic light or at least a stop sign in one direction.
To my dismay, you defended the practices of selective enforcement of parking ordinances and blamed the State of New Jersey for the lack of stop signs at these Hoboken intersections. Let's take a look at some of your specific responses:
"As far as car owners obstructing intersections when they park, the Hoboken Police Division, on a daily basis, issues summonses and tows cars that block intersections. They also routinely issue summonses to double parked cars. The proof of this is the daily complaints from people receiving tickets."
This simply demonstrates that selective enforcement of the parking laws is rampant. If Hoboken Police's enforcement of this parking ordinance were truly effective, there would be no cars parked within 25 feet of a street corner. However, it is probably impossible to walk around the block in Hoboken without finding an illegally parked car on at least one street corner. Consequently, in deference to your earlier statement, this is definite proof that the parking laws are being selectively enforced.
"Our Signal and Traffic Division makes every effort to ensure that our streets are appropriately marked. However, when there is a need for re-painting of lines, our Signal and Traffic does such work, but only during warm weather. A recently purchased "line striping machine" will assist us in this effort. State law does not permit the City to install traffic lights or stop signs at will."
Once again, you missed the message. Yellow curbs are meaningless if the law is not enforced. When there is selective enforcement of parking laws, a freshly painted yellow curb will not deter automobile owners from violating the laws.
Furthermore, with respect to installing stop signs at unabated intersections, simply get the necessary approvals from the State of New Jersey and install the stop signs. I don't need to know that NJ State approval is necessary. After living in Hoboken for seven years, there are still intersections that give drivers in both directions the right-of-way because no stop signs are in place. I implore that you begin the process by identifying these unabated intersections and submitting the necessary paperwork to the State of New Jersey. These intersections are ticking time bombs, and we should diffuse them.
In conclusion, on many street corners in Hoboken, automobile drivers' views are being obstructed by cars that are illegally parked within 25 feet of a street corner. As a result, automobile drivers must blindly proceed through intersections placing their lives and others at risk. At some intersections, this problem is further exacerbated by the lack of any stop signs or traffic lights. I can only hope that you have received the message this time and will pro-actively utilize your position of authority to implement positive change and enforce the law. Many thanks.
Robert A. Plotka